We often hear or read about what not to do, and I had initially started to write this post as the top things to not tell someone after giving birth, but I figured to lets focus on the positive things you should tell someone that just gave birth. Whether it is their first, second or tenth child, natural or c-section, these are some things you should tell the new mom:
You Look Great!
Often times, the person that just gave birth doesn’t necessarily feel like they look great, but it is really good to hear it, even if it’s a little lie. We rather hear this little lie, than someone telling you that you look like you’re six months pregnant or that you are still fat and you need to lose that weight. Do not tell someone that 2 weeks after giving birth. Some of us are not as obsessed with our bodies and some of us understand our bodies went through an incredible transformation of expanding of the abdominal muscles to a size unimaginable. Knowing that helps realize that in order for our bodies, abs, to return to pre-pregnancy conditions would take time, and patience is all that is needed. Two weeks is not a reasonable amount of time for that to happen. Did you know that “it takes about four to six weeks for your uterus to shrink back to its normal size, helping your stomach look smaller.” (Livestrong) That six months pregnant belly, could just be that the person’s uterus has not gone back to its original location.
I know this can be a tough time, let me know if you need someone to talk to or to visit you, I’m here for you –
Baby Blues is real, so is Postpartum Depression. If someone tells you that they are feeling down or depressed, especially after having a baby, believe them. Don’t joke around saying that they are just bored, or that it’s nothing it’ll pass. It’ll pass does not mean that it has passed. Be there or don’t, but don’t comment or joke about it. The exact cause is kind of unknown, besides hormones, but going through this sucks big time. “The exact cause of the “baby blues” is unknown at this time. It is thought to be related to the hormone changes that occur during pregnancy and again after a baby is born. These hormonal changes may produce chemical changes in the brain that result in depression.” (American Pregnancy Association)
When PPD hits you, it hits hard, really hard. Talking about it with someone helps bring you back to focus. But know that just because we carry a smile on our faces on some days, doesn’t mean that the other days are just as great. Again, downplaying when someone tells you that they’re depressed or down, isn’t very helpful. It is better to stay quiet and let the person vent or don’t even bother talking to the person if you know you don’t really understand or are not willing to help.
Can I Come Over and Bring You Some Food? –
I find this funny in a sense, because I was chatting with another mom the other day, how at times we are lucky to even eat 2 meals, not because we don’t have food, but because we don’t really have time to cook, when you have to tend to a baby by yourself. I have learned to pretty much not enjoy my food anymore, just chew a little and swallow, oh and learn to multitask, by eating while I’m breastfeeding the baby.
Breastfeeding takes a lot of calories away from you. Breastfeeding burns calories! “Our bodies burn almost 20 calories to make just an ounce of breast milk. If your baby eats 19-30 ounces a day, that’s anywhere between 380-600 calories burned,” (Shape.com) Offering to bring someone food, a quick meal will be greatly appreciated. Most visitors only care about the baby and once the baby is born, most people tend to forget the mom or assume that moms are fine.
Check On Them to See How They Are Doing –
Please know that no we are not ignoring your calls and/or texts we are just a little busy and our hands are full, but we do appreciate the calls and texts. Some times that easiest way to get in touch with the mom to see how her and baby are doing, is via text. Unfortunately, babies are unpredictable and our time is not as open as it used to be, so we don’t have time to chitchat for hours on the phone, when a baby is crying, needs feeding or diaper needs changing. Also, the worse thing to tell someone when you call is what were you doing? Sleeping? No, I haven’t slept in days and that is the worst thing to tell someone. We are already cranky from lack of sleep, do not make things worse by asking these dumb questions.
I know you’ll be returning to work very soon, let me know if you need help finding a sitter or if I can help babysit on some days –
Be helpful. I know we all love Baby XYZ, and we appreciate that, but if you are a close friend or family member, suggesting to babysit or referring potential nannies would be helpful. Do not ask when are you returning to work if there’s nothing else to it. Most moms on maternity leave are on leave because they have to, a baby is not a pet, a baby needs their mom in the first few months of life. “Babies who are held and comforted when they need it during the first six months of life tend to be more secure and confident as toddlers and older children.” (UC Davis Medical Center). We are not home on vacation, chilling, binge watching TV shows and going to the beach every time is 90 degrees. We are actually home, taking care of a baby, waking up several times in the middle of the night to feed and then to put to sleep. Some days we don’t sleep after they’re put to sleep, we stay up and do things that need to be done around the house. We also, clean and wash clothes, every chance we get. Maternity leave is not just goo goo, gaa gaa moments, we are busy all the time, and the times we are not, we are just trying to find our normal selves again, by doing things outside of motherhood that brings joy, like blogging, reading, watching tv, etc… we know we have to return to work at some time. Let us worry about that, including our bills, unless you’re planning to pay them, don’t worry about our return to work date.
I can write a whole lot more on this topic, up until I had my own child did I realize how difficult it is, but also very rewarding. From being pregnant, to giving birth, to being home on maternity/childcare leave, it has all been a very interesting journey, and it’s amazing to watch you change and also those around you. If you have a child you already know how it is, if someone close to you is pregnant or recently gave birth, please be there for them.